Kickstarter is an online crowd fundraising platform for those with an entrepreneurial mindset and creative ideas that they’d like to see made into reality. The basic concept is that strangers pledge money to projects simply because they find the idea interesting or hope to reap the benefits; for instance, a pledger might receive a limited edition of a given product once it is placed on the market in exchange for their pledge. Since its launch in 2009, those with creative game, film, art, design, and technology ideas have flocked to Kickstarter to get the funding they may not have been able to raise otherwise. Though Kickstarter has become a popular resource for many entrepreneurial hopefuls, it has especially proven to be a valuable resource for students for several reasons.
First, Kickstarter is generally a low-risk investment medium, making it perfect for students who may not have the income to support a high-risk financial business move. If a project is successful on Kickstarter, then the company collects 5% of the proceeds. On the other hand, if a Kickstarter project does not reach its fundraising goal, then no pledger is charged and the creator does not pay any fees. Thus, there is essentially no risk involved for students in terms of investment.
Second, while low-risk investments generally mean a low-risk return, this is not the case with Kickstarter. Despite the site being a low-risk fundraising medium, it can lead to serious rewards. Currently, about 43% of the live projects on Kickstarter are expected to succeed. And because students often don’t yet work in the professional world, Kickstarter provides them with a medium for getting their idea out in the world. Moreover, the site accepts and posts 75% of applicant ideas, and the average project is eight times more likely to be funded on Kickstarter than launched and sold by a corporation. Thus, the possibility of a project not only getting wide-spread support, but also succeeding, is high.
Third, school-related projects on Kickstarter generally raise more than those projects devoid of academia, as is evidenced by the chart below. For example, the average art and design project raises $16,499 while the average film project raises $10,725.